Dodge's New Visage
Not everyone was happy with the new Dodge 880. Mopar maven and avid Collectible Automobile® reader Jim Ozbold, of Johnstown, Pennsylvania, relates this story of a man who ordered a shell-beige Chrysler New Yorker sedan and was about to take delivery of his new car one Friday evening in February 1962:
"On his way there," writes Ozbold, "he passed the local [Dodge] dealer ... where he saw a full-size shell-beige car on the floor. He immediately made a U-turn, went into the Dodge agency, and saw for the first time the new Dodge Custom 880.
"Upon inspecting the 880 and the $1,161 price spread to the New Yorker, he proceeded to ... the Chrysler-Plymouth agency to tell them he wasn't accepting the New Yorker. He felt the 880 cheapened the Chrysler and especially the New Yorker .... He then proceeded to the local Oldsmobile store and purchased on the spot a new Starfire hardtop."
Though this gentleman eventually came back to Chrysler a few years later, Ozbold reports that "he always said the 880 devalued the Chrysler nameplate."
Given that a heavily reworked 1963 Dart/Polara on an expanded 119-inch wheelbase (save for wagons) brought back the "standard-size" Dodge, one might have expected that the Custom 880 would have been discontinued at the end of 1962. But sales of medium-priced cars were burgeoning and division officials were wary of again incurring the dealers' wrath by depriving them of a "big Dodge." Thus, the 880 became an integral part of the Dodge lineup.
This, however, was not as easily accomplished as it might seem. The Chrysler was totally reskinned for 1963, and carrying over the 880 would increase the complexity of body building and assembly operations at Jefferson and its associated Kercheval body plant.
plants would thus be building three different kinds of cars: the totally
restyled Chrysler, the facelifted 880 (both with unitized body construction),
and the body-on-frame Imperial, which had returned to Jefferson after Townsend
closed the Imperial plant in Dearborn at the end of the 1961 model year to cut
Continue on to the next page to learn about the 1963 Dodge 880.
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